Liar by K.L. Slater #Review @KimLSlater @bookouture

Liar cover

Since the death of his wife, Ben has relied on help given by his mother, Judi, who cleans his home and cares for her grandsons regularly. All that changes when Ben meets Amber, however. Judi goes from being a constant presence in their lives to someone they occasionally spend time with—and she knows it’s all because of Amber. But why is she doing it, and what can Judi do about it?

Wow, what a book! LIAR kicks off with a bloody bang—someone covered in blood, dead on the floor, and someone else standing over them with a knife… feeling nothing. The end is literally the beginning. It’s not until the (actual) end of the book that we find out who’s who, and what brought on the murder, because the next chapter starts at the beginning of the story.

Amber and Judi are both unlikable characters to some degree, but that isn’t strictly due to their interactions with one another, in Judi’s case. I was annoyed with her sometimes for being a bit too clingy with her son and grandsons, or for being upset at the way things changed in her son’s home after Amber came along—such as the new furniture. It absolutely made sense that Judi would feel that way about it, given the way she was, but it still got on my nerves. (Or maybe I felt that way because Judi had already annoyed me in other ways? Hmm. Probably.) That’s not to say that I didn’t feel sympathetic towards Judi. I did quite often because—whether she was a clingy mother or not—not being allowed to spend time with your loved ones is a hurtful thing, indeed.

Amber struck me as a manipulative woman with an agenda immediately, and I instantly decided there couldn’t possibly be any redeeming factors about her whatsoever. As I slowly learned more about her, however, I had a feeling there was more to Amber than meets the eye.

A lot happens throughout this story, but the last quarter of the book… holy crap! The twists kept on coming, and just when I thought nothing else could happen that would shock me, it did. I was completely blindsided and blown away by a certain event, and scared away at least one life for each of my cats when I yelled “WHAT?!” at the top of my lungs. I had to go back and reread that portion again, because I couldn’t believe what happened. I never saw it coming, and I loved it!

If you’re ready for an insanely addicting psychological thriller that will knock you off your feet, you need look no further than LIAR by K.L. Slater. This fantastic book hooks you from the start and never lets go. Highly recommended!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: K.L. Slater

Title: Liar

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: June 16th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About the Book

How far would you go to protect your family?

Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children alone, with the help of his devoted mother Judi. Life isn’t easy, but Judi’s family means everything to her and together, they manage.

Then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben but Judi isn’t sure … there’s just something about Amber that doesn’t add up.

Ben can’t see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn’t want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children.

The further Judi delves into Amber’s personal life, the closer she gets to shocking secrets that could change everything. And Judi must make a decision that could lead to the most disastrous consequences.


About the Author

kl_slater
Author K.L. Slater

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents but never made it off the slush pile. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

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The Lost Children by Helen Phifer #Review @helenphifer1 @bookouture

The Lost Children cover

Back in April, I put my auto-approval with Bookouture to good use, and downloaded this on Netgalley… and it sat for months waiting for me to read it while I read other books instead. I finally opened it up last week, and just like that, I’ve found a new series and author to love!

In my opinion, some of the best books (regardless of genre and sub-genre) use an old, abandoned asylum as a backdrop for the action. You can’t pick a creepier setting that than… your imagination sparks images of sorts of things that might have happened there before you even crack open the book. They give books an ambience that can’t be achieved in other settings, and is used to particularly chilling effect in crime thrillers.

Helen Phifer puts all of this to use in The Lost Children, creating a story about a place—the Moore Asylum—whose past is as horrifying as the murder that takes place there decades after its closure. It’s the first of several murders connected to the asylum, and it’s up to Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin to figure out who the killer is and put an end to the bloodshed.

Lucy Harwin is fabulously flawed. Her relationship with her daughter is rocky, and she’s a workaholic with a tendency to drink too much at times in order to forget the horrific things she sees on the job. She struggles with the guilt she feels over victims she was unable to save, holding herself responsible whether she is or not. The woman has issues, but she’s tough as nails when it comes to her job, and fiercely protective of the people she loves.

There are occasional flashbacks to the mid-1970s, which are told through one of three point of view: children who were patients in the asylum, a doctor at the asylum, and a nurse who worked on Ward 13—the children’s ward. It was fascinating to see the asylum through the eyes of people who worked, or were patients, there. The abandoned asylum of the present day is creepy, but what happened before the asylum closed is the stuff of nightmares.

I was able to figure out a couple of things before they were revealed in the story, but it didn’t affect the rating I’ve chosen to give this book because there were a couple of things I didn’t see coming that were fantastic and really added to the story.

I can’t wait to read more about Lucy Harwin!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: Helen Phifer

Title: The Lost Children

Series: Detective Lucy Harwin #1

Genre: Crime Thriller

Published March 24th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About the Book

Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to an ancient gurney…

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging the asylum’s wrongs.

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose?

An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.


About the Author

Author Helen Phifer
Author Helen Phifer

Helen Phifer’s love of reading began with Enid Blyton, before progressing on to Laura Ingalls Wilder and scaring herself with Steven King. If she can’t write for any particular reason she finds herself getting itchy fingers and really irritable. She loves reading as much as writing and is also very fond of chocolate, Prosecco, The Lake District, New York, white Zinfandel wine, my children and grandchildren, my friends, porn star martini cocktails, Stephen King, watching scary films, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa McCarthy, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Spandau Ballet, The Munsters and coffee. In no particular order.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

Secrets of the Dead by Carol Wyer #Review @carolewyer @bookouture

Secrets of the Dead cover

Secrets of the Dead is the second installment of the DI Robyn Carter series. I haven’t read the first book, Little Girl Lost, but I didn’t feel it diminished my ability to enjoy this story. And oh my… did I ever enjoy this story!

Three murders. Three innocent victims. What secrets did they share with their killer?

DI Robyn Carter is on the hunt for a killer. Three people are dead, their murders obviously connected—but how? What did they have in common, apart from a cryptic note found on their bodies? DI Carter is determined to find out, hopefully before anyone else turns up dead.

This story has a fairly large cast of characters, but they are all, in their way, crucial to the story. I’m in awe of how Wyer presents the reader with multiple threads and delicately weaves them all together for a mind-blowing tale overflowing with thrills and chills. I can’t say much about the particulars of the story, other than to note it is a fast-paced story with plenty of action that kept me reading into the wee hours of the night.

I’m looking forward to reading more about DI Robyn Carter in the future, and will be keeping my eye out for news about the next book in the series. In the meantime, I’ll look for a way to work the first book into my reading schedule!

If you love reading a good crime thriller, I highly recommend giving Secrets of the Dead a read. You won’t be sorry!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: Carol Wyer

Title: Secrets of the Dead

Series: DI Robyn Carter #2

Genre: Crime Thriller

Published: May 30th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Link

Amazon

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About the Book

Three murders. Three innocent victims. What secrets did they share with their killer?

A bottle of bubble bath and colourful, plastic boats were scattered in small puddles on the floor. In the bathtub lay Linda Upton, fully-clothed, her lips a shade of blue, and her bloodshot eyes wide open.

When a young mother is found drowned in the bath, clutching a receipt saying ‘all debts paid’, Detective Robyn Carter knows it’s just the beginning of a harrowing case. She recognises the signs of a serial killer, and when a second victim with a receipt is found, her worst fears are confirmed.

With the local press whipping the public into a frenzy, Robyn is under pressure to solve the crime yesterday. But her team can’t find a link between the two bodies, and the cracks are starting to show.

Just when her leads have dried up, Robyn discovers an unsettling clue she thinks could unlock the case. But as she chases across the plush carpets and manicured lawns of the wealthy elite, honing in on the killer’s shocking motive, one of her own is put in terrible danger.

The press call him The Leopard for his stealth, speed and brutality. Can Robyn stop the most twisted killer of her career before it’s too late?

A heart-pounding, toe-curling, one-sitting serial killer thriller that will hook you from the first page till the last. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.

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About the Author

Author Carol Wyer
Author Carol Wyer

As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published by Safkhet and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

 

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#Review: Safe With Me by K.L. Slater @bookouture @KimLSlater

Safe with Me cover

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Bookouture.

When Anna was a child, something terrible happened and destroyed her family. Anna has always laid the blame for that horrific event at the feet of a single person: Carla Bevin. Thirteen years later, Anna is leading a boringly routine life and having difficulties at work, her only friend her elderly neighbor, when she is witness to a car-motorcycle accident. She is enraged when she recognizes the driver as Carla, who calls herself Amanda Danson. Anna is determined to make her pay for what she did to her family, and manages to ingratiate herself with Liam—the injured motorcyclist—and his grandmother, Ivy, in order to keep tabs on the police investigation. Anna’s obsession with Amanda, and the need for revenge drives her to do whatever it takes to protect Liam from Amanda. But who really needs protection—and from whom?

This is not a book to be read while half-asleep. Told from multiple POVs, with scenes taking place in the past as well as the present, you can easily get confused about who did what, when they did it, and why. I certainly did, so much so that I started and stopped reading it a couple of times before I finally got serious and paid attention… otherwise known as NOT reading while I was half-asleep. (It’s amazing how much your reading comprehension improves when you can actually concentrate on the words you’re looking at…)

If ever a character ran me through the full gamut of emotions, it was Anna. There were times early on that I thought she was quite possibly the most uninteresting character I’ve ever read in my life. Ah, but those first impressions aren’t always to be trusted! Anna was actually a character of surprising depth. Once I knew all the details of what shaped Anna into who she was, everything she said and did made perfect sense to me. Huge kudos to Slater for creating such an intricate character!

All was definitely not as it seemed in this deliciously convoluted story, and I absolutely LOVED that.  K.L. Slater definitely has a fan in me. I can’t wait to read more of her work!

(Can convoluted be used in a complimentary way? I hope so, because that’s how I meant it!)

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Author: K.L. Slater

Title: Safe With Me

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: November 3rd, 2016 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Link

Amazon

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About the Book

 

Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even …

Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.

Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …

First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…

But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

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About the Author

kl_slater
Author K.L. Slater

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents but never made it off the slush pile. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

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